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FAQ's

We answer all those common questions you may have. If you need more information then feel free to contact us.

FAQ's Before You Book Thinking about booking your holiday with us? We answer some of those questions you may still have

Can I book a trip that is departing beyond the dates you have on your website?

No. But don't worry we have the most up to date pricing and itineraries, often even before the brochures hit the shelves, so if you can't see a date for next season on our site - then it hasn't been released yet.

Can I book from anywhere?

Yes. You can book our trips and cruises from anywhere. Please be aware that all trips are in english and at present we only provide prices in Australian and New Zealand dollars.

Can you tell me when departures for 2022 will become available?

Generally trip departures for 2022 are released at different times during the year depending on the destination. We've put a little table together below to help make it clearer.

Destination Dates Released
Europe & UK (Summer) August (*Previews) / September (General Release)
Europe & UK (Winter) April / May
Canada & USA June
River Cruises Jan (*Previews) / April (General Release)
Ocean Cruises Throughout Year
Asia May / June
Australia September
New Zealand February / March
Africa August

* To confuse things, Operators sometimes release "Preview" brochures with a subset of trips that you can book early. This subset is generally made up of their most popular trips likely to sell out quickly. These are released a month or two before the general release date.

Can we get a brochure mailed to us?

We do not mail out brochures. Our website provides you with all the itineraries, prices and destination information contained in over 230 brochures along with trips Operators couldn't fit into their printed brochures. If you wish to view the electronic brochure, then a link to it is available on each itinerary page (click on the brochure image).

When will I receive my travel documents?

Travel documents, including any paper tickets, e-tickets, e-docs, itineraries and other information, are emailed to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure from your country of origin provided full payment has been received.

How is my airfare determined if I purchase my flights through Global Journeys?

Flight prices are quoted at the best price available at the time you make the reservation. An additional non-refundable deposit is required for air booked in conjunction with any land tour or cruise (i.e. air-inclusive holiday). However, once your airfare is confirmed, and Global Journeys has received your full air and trip deposit, your air-inclusive holiday price is guaranteed.

Flights are only available when booked in conjunction with a tour or cruise. Any revisions or changes to your airfare after receipt of full land and air deposit are subject to revision fees and/or airline imposed charges or cancellation fees. Please ask if any such charges apply before making changes, as all changes at your request are payable by you.

Can I earn Frequent Flyer points if we book our flights with you?

Frequent Flyer points may be applied to airfares, but it is subject to the terms and conditions of the Frequent Flyer programme. Please note Frequent Flyer points can not be used to upgrade your flights.

Are there any discounts or money savings offers to take advantage of?

Global Journeys offer exclusive savings and discounts to help you stretch your money further, including all applicable savings offered by each Operator including Earlybird Specials, Early Payment Discounts, Young Traveller Discounts just to name a few. All these discounts will automatically be included in your quote to achieve our best possible price. Our own additional exclusive deals are shown on each itinerary page.

Do I need travel insurance?

Global Journeys strongly recommends that all clients have an insurance policy in place to ensure your peace of mind before and whilst travelling. It's important that you protect yourself in case of trip cancellation/interruption should unforeseen circumstances prevent you from travelling as planned, travel/baggage delay or loss of baggage and medical expenses.

Some Operators make having insurance compulsory to join their trips. This is generally more prevalent with adventure Operators. Please visit our Travel Insurance section for further information.

Will I be travelling with people from other countries?

It is quite typical to find 6-10 different nationalities on any one tour. You'll forge new friendships with other guests from Australia, America, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, Japan, and UK. All tours and river cruises are English guided only.

How and when can I find out if the tour I am interested in will definitely depart?

Find the tour(s) that you are interested in and select from the available dates, we will then email you a quote for that date letting you know the availability and whether it's a 'definite departure'. If it's not, we'll also let you know the closest available date that is definitely departing.

When can I purchase optional excursions?

Your Tour Guide will go through the optional excursions for purchase while you are on tour. You may choose and purchase any optional excursions at that time. A list of optional excursions will be included in your documents for review prior to departure. There are a small number of Operators that allow you to pre-book excursions before departure and we have provided those options.

What size is a triple room?

A triple room is the same size as a twin-share room. It will have beds to accommodate three people. If there are only two beds, a rollaway bed is normally used.

Can I request special dietary meals?

Most Operators can accommodate passengers who prefer a vegetarian diet and can assist with diabetic, gluten free and other medically recommended diets. Please advise at time of booking. Operators generally are unable to supply meals in accordance with strict religious requirements.

Even though our tour starts and ends in London, are we able to join (or finish) the tour in another city?

With many tours you can - however Operators won't offer a reduction in the trip price if you choose to do this. Please ask at time of enquiry.

I want to do a tour of Europe, when is the best time to go?

Global Journeys have included a weather indicator for each month of the year - you can find this on each itinerary page.

How much time will I spend on the coach?

Depending on the itinerary and the destinations you are visiting this will vary. All trips will include comfort stops.

How much time will I spend at each destination?

This varies based on each itinerary. At times you'll have the opportunity for a picture stop and talk by your tour guide, other times you'll have a number of hours to visit key attractions. On some tours you'll have multiple night stays in the one destination giving you ample time to explore in your own time.

What is the difference between a Tour Guide/Director and a Local Guide?

A Tour Guide/Director will accompany you throughout your journey. Some indepenent trips use Local guides in each city to give you in-depth information on the culture, history and attractions of the region. If you choose to book pre or post accommodation or tour extensions your Tour Guide/Director may not accompany you during this part of your holiday.

Is there an option to buy a type of 'cancellation protection' when we make a booking?

Some tour operators provide an option where you can pay an extra non-refundable amount when you deposit your trip which gives you additional protection if you have to cancel before or during your holiday. Each policy is different, read about them below. If you wish for us to include this in your quote then please let us know before making your deposit.

There are lots of different river cruise Operators, how do I make sure I choose the right one?

Deciding who to travel with is not an easy task. If you've travelled with a particular river cruise Operator before, and you loved the trip then it's not such a hard decision. Most Operators have special 'Frequent Traveller Savings' for repeat clients. When pricing your quote we'll take this into account. To help you compare River Cruise operators we have provided you with a quick guide which you can find here: Compare River Cruise Operators.

I want to do a European river cruise, what's the best time of year to go?

The most popular time to visit Europe is early summer, especially June and July. Part or all of August is often considered part of the low season in many cities (except for Paris, where it's July). Europeans go on vacation at this time, which means the beaches are packed, but the cities are devoid of locals and replaced by travellers. From August 15 to 31, most European cities either close down entirely (Rome is the most notorious) or go on severely shortened hours. From mid or late November through Easter (except for Christmas week) is low season in most places. However there are some great river cruises which allow you to take in Christmas time in Europe, something very unique. The Shoulder Season usually includes Spring (Easter through mid June) and Autumn/Fall (late September to mid or late November). Global Journeys have included a weather guide for each month of the year - you can find this on each itinerary page.

I'm a solo traveller, do river cruises cater for me?

For a single traveller who prefers the privacy of their own room, single accommodation can be requested. A single supplement normally applies (unless there is a special on) on normal twin-share rooms.

I'm thinking of joining a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, should I try to secure the port or starboard side of the ship?

Because most of Europe's historic towns and cities are often located on or close to the main rivers, it makes no difference which side of the ship you choose. There's always plenty to see along both sides of the river. Remember that Europe is very compact - you only have short distances to travel between towns (and even between countries).

I have special food requirements, will I be catered for?

All meals onboard are prepared by accomplished chefs and consist of local food adjusted to suit the tastes of international passengers. Generally that will include a buffet breakfast, and in Europe a buffet lunch. On the Yangtze, a mix of Western and Chinese dishes are generally offered. Dinner is generally a multi-course meal. If your vegetarian, on the first day of the cruise you need to make the Tour/Cruise Director aware of this so they can advise any chefs onboard the ships. However if you need gluten free meals you'll need to let us know beforehand so we can advise the Operator. Gluten intolerant passengers will also need to make the Tour/Cruise Director aware of your requirments, on the first day of the cruise.

How do I get to the cruise starting port?

Global Journeys can arrange for your flight into the city where the tour starts, or any other city if you wish to have pre-cruise touring days. This applies to the end of the river cruise as well if you wish to stay on, or extend your holiday.

Should I arrive a day or two ahead of the departure date?

Flying in on the same day as your river cruise departure does reduce your holiday expense, however flying in a day early lowers your stress level and is recommended. If you are cutting it close, a flight delay or cancellation could be a disaster. It is your responsibility to meet the ship, and a last-minute flight/transfer to the ship's next port won't be cheap. A night in a hotel before your cruise can also help you unwind and enjoy your first day on the ship.

When should I book shore excursions?

Your river cruise will stop at several ports. When it does, you are free to do what you like. You can go exploring on your own arouund town or join go on an organised excursion. Many of the Operators on our site offer various options (and mostly at no additional charge). These options could include walking tours at night, cycling tours, historical walks and gastronomic discoveries.

If this is your first river cruise we would recommend that you orgnaise any shore excursions while onboard with the cruise operator. Besides the convenience you can also rely on the transport provided & there's no chance that you will miss the ships' departure. (They will not wait for you if you are delayed on a private tour).

What happens in the evening, are we cruising during the night?

River cruises journey during the night and day. Some evenings local entertainment is provided onboard after which they disembark and the ship usually leaves the port, while you are dining, socialising and sleeping.

At each stop, am I able to wander on my own or do I have to join the guided tours?

You can do your own thing or join one of the groups to do a personalised walking tour. There is time to wonder on your own, go back to the ship for lunch or enjoy lunch at one of the local cafes. Sometimes included day trips take most of the day.

I've heard there is an option to buy a type of 'deposit cancellation protection' when we make a booking? What's that all about?

Most of the river cruise operators provide an option where you can pay an extra non-refundable amount when you deposit your river cruise which gives you additional protection if you have to cancel your cruise before or during your holiday. Each operators policy is different, read about them below. If you wish for us to include this in your quote then please let us know before making your deposit.

I have trouble with sea sickness on ocean cruising, am I likely to have the same problem with river cruising?

Sea sickness is not a problem on a river cruise as the ships are designed to virtually glide along & so you hardly realise you are moving. (Typically 12-15 mph cruising speed). The fact that you can see both banks of the river also means sea sickness is a rarity as there is no sense of a moving horizon.

I will be cruising during the Summer, do the ship's have swimming pools on board?

Because the ships are restricted in size to enable them to navigate the rivers and locks, there is not sufficient space for full size pools, but some have spa pools and internal pools available.

How do I know which cruise line is for me? What are my options?

There's a cruise line to suit virtually every traveller. Some fleets consist of large ‘resorts-at-sea’ with a vast selection of onboard recreation and entertainment facilities for non-stop fun between ports. Other classic vessels offer a traditional cruise experience while luxury lines provide a boutique setting and some extra indulgences.

You can opt for a casual or more formal atmosphere and choose to share your experiences with an intimate few (some ships accommodate fewer than 100 guests) or over 5,000 fellow globetrotters. To help you compare Cruise operators we have provided you with a quick guide which you can find here: Compare Cruise Lines.

What do I need to consider when choosing my cabin?

On most larger cruise ships there are four basic categories to choose from. These are Inside/Interior Staterooms (no window to the outside), Outside/Oceanview Staterooms (a window or porthole), Balcony Staterooms (a veranda accessible directly from your stateroom), or Suite (varying in configuration and facilities). Interior staterooms are the smallest and most economical, ranging through to suites with the most space at a higher price tag. Often smaller luxury or expedition vessels have fewer distinctive categories, some with only suites or all balconies.

What is a ‘Guaranteed’ stateroom?

When you book a ‘Guaranteed’ stateroom you won’t be assigned a cabin number straight away. You will be guaranteed a stateroom in the category you have booked or higher and will be notified of your cabin number week or sometimes just days before your cruise embarkation.

These staterooms often come with a lower price tag and the potential of an upgrade. An upgrade is never a sure thing so only book a category that you are happy to cruise in. If you are travelling with others or have a preference of cabin location, be mindful that a guarantee may be assigned anywhere on the ship.

I get motion sickness; will I get seasick on an ocean cruise?

If you feel discomfort driving or flying, this does not mean you will experience seasickness on an ocean cruise. Ships have stabilisers designed to minimise movement and therefore the prevalence of motion sickness. However, if you are susceptible you might consider a stateroom on a lower deck and in the centre of the ship where it is steadier than the aft or the bow. There are also preventative medications available; consult your doctor to discuss your options before you cruise.

What is included in my cruise fare?

Cruise fare inclusions will vary by cruise line, and there is an option to suit every budget. You can opt for a more bare-bones fare which includes all the necessities or go for a more inclusive option.

Generally, the price you pay will include your accommodation, standard meals, most entertainment and some activities on board. Often there will be additional onboard activities or shows which incur a surcharge, and you’ll also need to budget for expenses such as drinks, meals in specialty restaurants where surcharges apply, shore excursions, internet, services such as spa or salon treatments, and any other incidentals you may choose to purchase.

Some cruise lines (particularly luxury lines) will already include some of these extras in your fare, perhaps offering a selection of free shore excursions, complimentary specialty dining, or beverage packages free of charge. Suite guests will also find additional privileges included in their fare.

Can I request special dietary meals?

Cruise lines can accommodate most special dietary requirements with prior notice. Please let your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor know at the time of booking so these requests can be made on your behalf.

I have special needs, am I still able to cruise?

Yes, most cruise lines can accommodate passengers with special needs, if advance notice is given to ensure individual requirements are met. Most ships have accessible staterooms that offer more space and accessible bathrooms; however, these are limited so it is essential to book early. It is important to notify your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor of any special requirements when you book.

What is there to do on ‘Sea Days’? Will I get bored?

On days where you do not make landfall you will have plenty of activities to choose from on board. On larger ships you may find anything from ropes courses to arcades, while on boutique liners you’re likely to have lectures, classes, or destination-themed activities on offer. On expedition-style ships that focus more on destinations you’ll find fewer facilities on board, however, these lines generally opt for more time on shore, so you’ll need less to fill your time at sea.

Do I have to book shore excursions, or can I do my own thing in port?

In port you have the option to take shore excursions organised through your cruise line or you can opt to explore independently. This could mean taking a tour through another Operator or sightseeing on your own. It is entirely up to you.

The biggest benefit of shore excursions booked through your cruise is that your ship will not depart without you even if there is a delay onshore. However, if you choose to sightsee independently and you are late getting back to the ship, it may have already set sail without you. Catching up to the next port will be at your own expense.

Shore excursions booked through your cruise line will also be run by licenced and tried and tested Operators on the ground. It is not uncommon for your ship to dock away from the centre of a destination or far from major attractions, so you’ll need to do some research if you plan on getting around on your own.

I am a solo traveller, do ocean cruises cater for me?

Yes. If you are cruising solo some cruise lines offer single cabins (or ‘studios’) which are designed and priced for one passenger. These are generally smaller than standard twin-share staterooms but have all the same basic facilities. You may also find a designated solo travellers lounge on some ships, and often there are events hosted for guests travelling alone to mingle. On ships where single staterooms are not available, or you prefer the space of a twin-share cabin, you can opt to pay a single supplement for sole occupancy.

What is the difference between Traditional Dining and Flexible Dining and when do I select my preference?

Dinner in the main dining room/s is often served based on an early and a late sitting to avoid everyone arriving en masse (particularly on larger ships). ‘Traditional Dining’ means you are booked at a fixed dining time and table each evening. You can nominate a preferred table size and guests on the same reservation will be accommodated together with other passengers (the same group each evening).

Flexible Dining allows you to arrive when you want and dine with different passengers nightly. Some lines allow you to make reservations once on board to minimise queuing on arrival.

Often you are required to select Traditional or Flexible Dining when you reserve your cruise, as sitting times can book out. On smaller luxury ships and expedition vessels (and some larger lines) you may not need to, as all guests may be accommodated in the same venue/s with open dining or the option to make reservations on a nightly basis.

How do Beverage Packages work?

A 'Beverage Package' allows you to pay an upfront fee for drinks within the scope of your package rather than paying per drink on board. Options vary by cruise line and you can choose between different tiers and inclusions. It is usually required that each person in your stateroom purchase a Beverage Package to avoid one guests ‘buying’ drinks for the others. You’ll also only be permitted one drink at a time.

Do I need to take out travel insurance if I am only cruising domestically?

Yes, even if you are an Australian cruising domestically, it is important that you protect yourself in case of trip cancellation/interruption should unforeseen circumstances prevent you from travelling as planned, travel/baggage delay or loss of baggage and medical expenses.

Please note that Medicare benefits are only payable if services are provided by an accredited Medicare provider, which may not be the case onboard (even on domestic sailings between Australian-only ports). Please visit our Travel Insurance section for further information.

FAQ's Before You Travel All booked, paid and ready to go, so is there anything I should do to prepare?

I've fully paid, when will I receive my travel documents?

Travel documents, including any paper tickets, e-tickets, electronic-docs (e-doc's), itineraries and other information, are sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure from your country of origin provided full payment has been received. Nowadays almost all Operators use e-docs rather than hard-copy (paper) documents.

When should I take out travel insurance?

Now, if you haven't already. Travel insurance can cover you for financial losses caused by a wide range of events that can affect your trip, whether they occur before, during or even after your return. These can include modifications to your travel, cancellation, interruption, medical expenses, baggage damage, theft, and more. We offer travel insurance through our partner World Nomads.

Do I need a visa for my holiday?

You are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas prior to your trip departure. Depending on your nationality, you may need visas to enter certain countries and obtaining certain visas can take up to six weeks. We've provided more information here - Visa & Passport Guide

Do I need any vaccinations?

Please contact us or visit your doctor to find out which vaccinations are required. If you are taking medication or suffer from any form of illness, be sure to have an adequate supply of medicines before departing on your holiday.

What is the luggage allowance on my tour?

As a general guidline you can bring with you what you would normally take on the plane. So one suitcase and hand luggage. However allowances do vary between Operators, so we've detailed their baggage policies under the FAQ section on each Operator page. Also note, some itineraries, will have limited luggage allowances (for example a trip where there is a connecting flight in a small plane) and this will be detailed in the information we send you during the booking process.

One suitcase? How is that going to work over my 4 week holiday?

Your transport will have limited luggage space, so if everyone brought whatever they wanted then you can imagine what would happen. We had a client ask if they could bring their microwave with them! On longer trips there will opportunities to launder your clothes at your hotel, on shorter trips pack only what you need, and bring a little extra cash in case you really need to purchase any necessaries.

What type of outfits do I pack and will I need formal attire?

This will depend on your personal preferences, where you are travelling, and on the time of year. It is advisable to bring at least one ‘smart’ outfit for special evenings or highlight dinners. Please note that some churches/places of worship require covered shoulders and in some cases, knee length shorts/skirts. Items that are casual and lightweight, requiring little or no ironing are recommended.

Do tour prices include tips?

Tips & gratuities are optional, but for coach tours are generally not included in the price (unless specified). There are Operators that do include them and we make that clear in their trip inclusions. Portage (the unloading and carrying of your suitcase to your room) is generally included on most tours. Again this is made clear under inclusions on each itinerary page. We've provided a comprehensive guide to tipping here.

Some tour operators provide you with the opportunity to prepay your gratuities and you'll be provided with vouchers indicating that you have prepaid. If this is you preference please let us know.

Are airport transfers included?

Transfers will depend on the tour you choose, arrival time and airport. Under 'Inclusions' on each itinerary page we list airport transfer information.

When can I purchase optional excursions?

Your Tour Guide will go through the optional excursions for purchase while you are on tour. You may choose and purchase any optional excursions at that time. A list of optional excursions will be included in your documents for review prior to departure. There are a limited number of Operators that allow you to pre-book excursions before departure. Information on how to do this will be provided once your booking is confirmed.

How much spending money should I bring?

This is obviously a difficult question, since the amount will vary from person to person and from tour to tour. By studying the itinerary pages of the tour you have chosen you will see how many highlight visits and other sightseeing is included, as well as meals and entertainment. Listed below is a guide to extra expenses for which you should budget per person.

Meals

Lunches are usually not included and peoples’ requirements vary. We suggest $15 per day. Where evening meals are not included, the cost will depend on the type and locations of restaurants used. As a guide, in Europe allow $25-35 per day. Whilst in Britain and Ireland we suggest $25-35 per day. You should budget for drinks with meals and refreshment stops during the day. Non-alcoholic drinks cost approximately $2.50 each.

Optional Excursions

Experience has shown us that most passengers participate in these excursions and you should therefore budget for these excursions in advance. Please check with us for more optional information depending on the tour you have booked.

Personal Expenditure

Souvenirs, stamps, postcards, telephone calls, taxi fares, laundry. Allow yourself $10 per day whilst in Europe, and $12 per day in Britain and Ireland, plus extra for any major gifts. You are advised, whatever your personal requirements may be, to bring more money rather than less. Once overseas, it can be complicated and time consuming to transfer additional funds from home, especially when you are on the move. You cannot always draw extra money on credit cards and they are still not accepted everywhere. Personal cheques are not accepted unless you hold a bank account in the host country. Remember, excess travellers cheques can always be refunded at the end of your trip.

How much luggage can I bring onboard?

As a general guidline you can bring with you what you would normally take on the plane. So one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and one personal bag (handbag, computer case, etc.) per person. However allowances do vary between Operators, so we've detailed their baggage policies under the FAQ section on each Operator page.

What should I be wearing on board?

The type of clothing of course depends on the time of year you are travelling, but generally dress aboard and on shore is "casual & comfortable". Shorts should not be worn in the restaurant or lounge in the evenings. Bathing suits are not appropriate in the lounge or restaurant at any time.  You may wish to wear something a little dressier for the Captains Dinner. We recommend that for shore excursions you wear comfortable shoes & don't forget a sun hat.

Is laundry service available?

Most ships have either a self-serve laundrette (with ironing board) or laundry service for an additional fee.

Do I need a Visa for a European river cruise?

Firstly a valid passport is required to travel and must be valid for at least six (6) months after the scheduled return date of your trip. Check it now.

Secondly, and this a only general advice - you probably wont need any Visa's on a European river cruise, and you will on a river cruise to Russia or around Asia. Of course that varies depending on the nationality of your passport. We've got more specific advice here - Visa Info Guide

What should I consider before I go on my river cruise?

First and foremost, please taking out some form of travel insurance. Along with providing coverage in case you need medical assistance it can also cover trip interruption and we recommend it to everyone when undertaking a multi-day journey.

To prepare for your river cruise don't just consider your clothing and camera. Take your driver's license, passport and we recommend that you make two sets of photocopies of your airline tickets (including e-tickets) and the first page of your passport. Leave one set at home with a friend or relative; bring the other set with you, keeping it separate from the original documents. For more information visit our section on Passports & Visas.

It is important that you prepare enough money to last you the whole trip. It is recommended that you add around 300 to 500 dollars on top of your budget that would act as a "buffer" for your wallet. Some cruises accept dollars or other national currency, but there are some that do not accept any other currency but Euros. It would be frustrating to have all that money, and yet not be able to buy a souvenir or local food. Be sure to check the required currency to avoid this inconvenience.

You should also take whatever medications or prescriptions that you take to counter the usual ailments. A small medicine bottle or container should be enough to bring all that you need for the duration of the trip. In some circumstances, you might also need to get medical clearance from the doctor. Any medical equipment such as reading glasses, hearing aides, pacemakers and such should also be included in the things to bring.

Finally, make sure that you have the gadgets that you will need to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Bring extra batteries and storage cards for your camera so that you don't run out of space for your photos. These are generally priced higher in the places where you'll be travelling.

Will my cabin be heated/air-conditioned?

All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.

Are alcoholic & other drinks available on board?

Wine, beer & soft drink are included with all onboard dinners. In Europe, regular coffee, tea & iced tea are available free of charge throughout the day from the self service coffee stations. On the Yangtze and Galapagos - coffee, tea & soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner.

I need to keep in touch with my family & office back home, what facilities are available?

Internet service is available onboard. The service works via satellite and there is an hourly charge. On the Yangtze River Cruises the internet is a flat rate charge. Internet cafes can be found in many towns along the way in Western Europe and charges are generally very reasonable. Faxes can be sent and received via reception; there is a charge for both outgoing and incoming faxes. Stamps and postcards are available for purchase on board. Mail is sent from each major port. Each stateroom has it's own telephone. This may be used to call room to room or to any of the ship's offices, in Europe calls can be made from ship-to-shore. In Egypt & China, ship-to-shore calls must be made from reception. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galapagos, there are two satellite-linked phones available for use in the reception lounge.

What currency will I need & am I able to use my credit card on tour?

If you are travelling in Europe, most of the countries you will be visiting use the Euro. Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia and Switzerland; they all have their own currencies but the euro is accepted in many establishments. Many locations accept major credit cards; however in small towns they are not widely accepted. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency. ATM machines are located on shore at some stops. Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work abroad.

All purchases on board your ship are charged to your room account. The onboard currency is the Euro. Traveller's cheques may be exchanged for Euros. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diner's Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveller's cheques. Personal cheques cannot be cashed on board.

If you are travelling in China, U.S. dollars are widely accepted on shore. The local currency is the Yuan. ATM machines will dispense Yuan or they can be purchased on board the ship using U.S. dollars. The currency on board is the Yuan. Shipboard accounts can be settled in cash, traveller's cheques or most major credit cards.

If you are travelling in Ecuador, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. In smaller towns cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card, cash or travellers cheques.

If you are travelling in Egypt, the official currency is the Egyptian pound, but Euros and U.S. dollars are widely accepted. In small towns it is recommended to carry small amounts of local currency, but vendors in tourist areas are likely to accept U.S. dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. ATMs are available in most larger cities. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card or with cash. Traveller's cheques are not accepted.

I’ve heard about my online cruise account – what’s that all about?

When you make your cruise booking with us, you will be able to register for an online cruise account with your cruise line. Your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor will provide your booking reference to do so. Once you have paid in full, you will then be able to personalise your trip with the option to pre-book shore excursions, make dining or spa reservations (if available), register your personal details (including your passport details, emergency contact etc.), set up your onboard expense account, and access your cruise documentation.

How much luggage can I take on an ocean cruise?

Ocean cruise lines are generous with their luggage allowance, usually accommodating anywhere between 30kg and 90kg per passenger, depending on the Operator. Regardless of total allowance, there will be restrictions on the weight of each individual item for health and safety reasons. You’ll also need to ensure your belongings can be safely stored in your stateroom and if you are flying to join or leave your cruise, it is important to check your airline carrier restrictions.

What am I expected to wear on my cruise? What outfits should I pack?

Each cruise line has its own onboard dress code, which varies from casual to more formal on luxury liners. Our cruise line specific FAQs provide Operator guidelines and packing suggestions. Generally, you can opt for casual/smart casual by day, and tailor your evening attire to your chosen dining venue – pack some smart casual and formal options so your bases are covered. You will also need to consider destination appropriate clothes e.g. expedition wear or conservative attire to visit mosques, temples or religious sites. Also check for theme nights like ‘White Parties’ or formal nights on your itinerary.

Can I bring my own alcohol to drink on board?

Some cruise lines don’t permit any personal beverages to be brought on board, however, most will allow a couple of bottles of wine or Champagne for personal consumption in your stateroom at no charge (or for a corkage fee in the dining room/public areas). Some cruise lines (usually luxury lines) allow beers and spirits as well or have no restrictions or corkage fees. More specific details are provided in the FAQ's section on each of our cruise-line pages.

How will I pay for my onboard expenses?

Cruise ships are predominantly cashless. You will set up an onboard expense account linked to your credit/debit card or you can provide a cash deposit. For any onboard purchases you will present your cruise card (some newer ships have started using wristbands) and your expenses will be tallied up to settle at the end of your cruise.

You can opt to set an expense limit, restrict the spending for members in your party, or check your balance throughout your trip so there are no surprises. At the end of your cruise (usually on the final night) you’ll be provided with a statement which will be charged in line with your specified payment method.

Please note if you assign a credit/debit card it is common for the funds to be frozen as a guarantee until your account is settled (and sometimes these funds take a few days or more to be accessible afterwards).

What currency is used on board?

The currency used on board will depend on the cruise line you are travelling with (e.g. on American cruise lines all charges will be in U.S. dollars). You’ll need to consider currency conversion and any international fees charged by your bank.

My cruise is going to multiple countries, how do I go about currency on shore?

In most destinations you will be expected to pay in local currency (some busier ports accept US Dollars although change will be given in local currency). Larger stores may accept credit/debit cards but it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller venues, roadside stalls and any other incidentals.

Some ships have foreign currency facilities and ATMs on board, however, there is no guarantee the cash you need will be available. You may find ATMs in port (check with your bank for options and fees), however, it’s advisable to arrange some foreign currency in advance if you are heading to more remote destinations.

Do I need to budget for tipping on board?

On most cruise lines gratuities are included in the fare. As such daily gratuities for services will not be added to your onboard account in the same way as it is for other passengers.

On some international cruise lines, gratuities are not included in the fare, but you may be able to pay these upfront with your cruise fare. If not these are added to your onboard account at a standard rate per passenger per day. In this case gratuities will be itemised on your account and you can change the amount of the gratuity at your discretion while onboard.

There are services for which additional gratuities MAY be charged onboard that may include, but are not limited to:

  • Spa and Salon Treatments
  • The purchase of certain drinks not included in complimentary menus or drinks packages
  • Specialty Restaurants

Finally, on some cruise lines, gratuities are not charged at all, nor expected. It is entirely at your discretion to tip extra to crew members for good service.

Can I add money to my onboard account before I depart?

Yes, you can usually purchase onboard credit before your cruise or while on board (and some special offers include complimentary bonus onboard credit). This value is then deducted from your final bill. Some cruise lines have restrictions on items and services you can use your shipboard credit towards, so it’s best to check beforehand.

When should I book my shore excursions?

Often shore excursions have limited availability and are reserved on a first come first served basis, so it is best to book them in advance to guarantee your spot. You can do this through your online cruise account. There is usually a reservation window which will vary by cruise Operator (e.g. reservations may open 240 days out from sailing, and close seven days before departure). You will also have the option to make reservations once on board, however, these will be subject to availability.

If you’re worried about changing your mind, you can usually cancel your pre-booked shore excursion for a full refund within a specified grace period. Some require cancellation at least three days (and sometimes more) out from sailing, while others allow cancellation up to 24 hours before your scheduled excursion. Check the Operator’s terms and conditions before booking your excursions.

Do I need to pre-book my dinner reservations for specialty restaurants?

Restaurant reservation policies vary by cruise line. You will generally be able to make a reservation for specialty restaurants before you cruise, and it is advisable to do so (particularly for a special occasion). Some cruise lines allow you to do this prior to sailing through your online cruise account, however, for others you will need to do so once on board.

I’m celebrating a milestone during my cruise; can I arrange something special?

If you are celebrating something special during your trip you will find most cruise lines will offer you a complimentary cake (or similar) and you’ll be showered with a big ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Congratulations’ depending on the occasion. Your cruise line will need advance notice to arrange this, so be sure to let your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor know. Most cruise lines also offer the option to pre-purchase packages for yourself or others which can include anything from Champagne and chocolates to elaborate stateroom decorations.

Will I be able to keep in touch with family and friends while I am away?

Most cruise lines offer either complimentary Wi-Fi and or for a fee, tiered packages are often available for purchase. You will also find computers equipped with internet on most ships. If you need to make or receive phone calls you will usually have the option to use the ship’s telephones, however, this will be charged at the current rate of your cruise line. Some lines also facilitate the use of your own mobile phone with a cellular service which is billed by your home network provider. Rates can be quite costly, so be sure to check any fees prior to your cruise if you intend to use these services.

FAQ's While Travelling You're on the road or the high seas, what can you expect?

What time will I usually start the day?

On most guided tours you are up early most days. There are exceptions to this rule, and all Operators make it clear in their itineraries and inclusions if the itinerary is designed to be more leisurely with later departures. But in general, most depart soon after breakfast to get the best vantage spots or to get into your destination earlier for more free time.

Can I have laundry done?

Most hotels offer laundry services, however, it is a good idea to try and pack enough clothing without having to do laundry. It can be costly - but if do, then wait until you have a two night stopover during your journey.

What time will I usually start the day?

On most guided tours you are up early most days. There are exceptions to this rule, and all Operators make it clear in their itineraries and inclusions if the itinerary is designed to be more leisurely with later departures. But in general, most depart soon after breakfast to get the best vantage spots or to get into your destination earlier for more free time.

Can I have laundry done?

Most hotels offer laundry services, however, it is a good idea to try and pack enough clothing without having to do laundry. It can be costly - but if do, then wait until you have a two night stopover during your journey.

Am I going to have issues with electrical appliances?

Electrical currents vary in Britain, on the continent of Europe and also in different countries throughout the world. Some newer appliances have dual voltage, but if not, we suggest you carry a converter for your electric shaver, travelling iron and other small appliances to prevent damage. Additionally, plugs/outlets differ everywhere, so you'll need a universal electrical travel adaptor before you go in order to use your appliance. Australia and NZ have the same voltage and plug designs.

How do I change my currency while on a multi-country itinerary?

Currency can be exchanged at airports or banks. Most bank machines (ATM's) throughout Europe and many parts of the world accept debit cards. Or better yet, bring along a travel money card.

How do I keep in touch with family and friends?

Almost all hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be high, especially for international calls. Set-up your mobile for roaming before you leave, or buy a sim when you arrive and swap out (but keep safe) your existing sim. This is iften the cheapest method and short term (pay as you go) plans are not very expensive.

Will there be seat rotation?

Almost always. Your Tour Director/Guide will implement a seat rotation system, whereby passengers rotate seats on the coach daily. This allows for all passengers to experience the different views from various seats and to maximise interaction.

What if I arrive late and miss a feature on the tour?

Your Operator will not refund for missed experiences, meals or sightseeing on tour.

Can I drink the water in the countries I will visit on my tour?

In Australasia, the UK, Western Europe and Scandinavia, the answer is 'yes'. For other countries your Tour Guide will keep you informed during your journey.

Is smoking allowed on the coach?

No Operators allow smoking onboard the coach. However, there are plenty of comfort stops, allowing you ample opportunity to smoke if you wish, stretch your legs, take a scenic snapshot or enjoy a cup of coffee.

Are we organised onboard or are we free to do what we wish?

A professional, experienced, English-speaking Cruise Director accompanies every departure. He or She is there to help you plan & get the best out of your tour. You are under no obligation to participate in organised trips ashore or any events onboard if you prefer to just relax & enjoy the scenery.

Do I get to choose the table I dine at onboard?

Meals are served in the dining room in a single sitting. There is open seating so you may sit at different tables for each meal if you wish to meet other fellow passengers. All meals onboard the ship are included.

I will be bringing some electrical appliances with me, what do I need know about the electricity supply so that I can use them?

Electricity on board is 220v. Most cruise Operators bathrooms have dual 220v/110-120v plug for shavers and small appliances. You will need an adapter or converter to use in other outlets in the stateroom for any small personal items such as a razor, curling iron or alarm clock. In the Galapagos, electrical outlets are 110v with American-type outlets. Each stateroom is equipped with a hair dryer.

What about tipping on the cruise?

Gratuities policies differ slightly depending on the Operator, however generally onboard European river cruises gratuities are included for the Tour Director & Crew. Generally they are not included in Egypt, China & South America.

Will I have access to laundry facilities on the cruise?

Laundry service is available onboard most ships either for free or for a modest fee. Please note that clothes cannot be dry cleaned onboard. Laundry facilities are not available on Galapagos cruises.

What happens if I need medical attention?

Should you fall ill, please contact your ships reception, at once. Due to the proximity to land, medical services can be called from shore when necessary. There is a resident physician onboard some expedition ships and river cruise ships. You will be responsible for all charges that result from visiting a Medical facility, or for a Medical Practitioner visiting you.

Do I have to have cash for payments on board?

A cashless system operates on the vessels. For convenience, all purchases and paid services on board (after your authorisation) are billed to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a total which can be paid with cash or charged to a major credit card or paid in traveller's cheques (there is a processing fee). Travellers cheques are not accepted on the Royal Lotus. Personal cheques are not accepted.

I am a smoker, are there facilities for my habit?

All ships have dedicated smoking areas onboard - but they are always outside.

I am celebrating my birthday on this voyage, can I arrange something special?

Passengers celebrating special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, should alert ship personnel upon boarding the ship.

When is embarkation?

Your travel documents will indicate the details for your embarkation day, that include when you should be at the port and the documents you need for boarding the ship. You may be provided a time for embarkation or offered to select a time for embarkation, depending on the cruise Operator.

What happens on embarkation day?

Information about embarkation day will be included in your travel documents. This should also cover the services that are available once you board the ship.

What time will the ship get to each port?

The time your ship is expected to arrive in each port will be indicated on the cruise itinerary, however conditions at sea may mean that you arrive later. The ship’s daily news or announcements will advise arrivals and departures once you are cruising.

How much time will there be in the ports?

The arrival and departure time for each port will be indicated on the cruise itinerary. This may change depending on conditions at sea. Most cruise lines plan for about 5 – 9 hours in port. Destination focussed cruise Operators will spend a day and evening in port, departing later in the night, while others might spend multiple nights in one port.

Are ports ever bypassed or missed?

In certain circumstances, ports may be changed or missed. This may be due to weather conditions, conditions in the port or mechanical conditions that may occur, causing the ship to stop in alternative locations. Occasionally ships need to stop in an unscheduled port due to an unforeseen medical emergency. In these circumstances, alternative ports may be arranged or there may be more days at sea.

Will I be reimbursed for port excursions if they are missed because the port wasn’t visited?

Each cruise line decides how they will compensate for ports they did not visit. Please refer to the terms and Conditions of the cruise Operator.

How do I get ashore at the various ports?

Your ship will either dock at the pier or wharf of the port. Where there is no pier or the ship cannot enter the port due to depth, you will get ashore by smaller boats called tenders. These ferry guests in groups into the port and return them back to the ship.

Do I have to go ashore at all ports?

You do not have to go ashore at any of the ports on the cruise itinerary if you choose not to. It is recommended you check on the services that will be available to you on board the ship while in port, as they may be limited on port days.

What sort of excursions can I take?

Your cruise Operator will offer a series of arranged shore excursions ranging from city tours to bus trips to iconic locations, or adventure experiences such as diving, water sports, hiking or cycling. You can generally book the excursions you would like to do through your cruise account once you have paid in full and in a defined period before your cruise commences. Most cruise lines have a Destination Concierge on board to help you book sponsored or private tours – or even help you book a recommended restaurant.

Do I have to go on the organised excursions, can I explore on my own?

It is entirely your choice how you spend time on shore at each port. You may choose to go on an organised tour offered by the cruise Operator, or it may be possible to arrange a private tour through your ship’s Destination Concierge. Alternatively, you may explore the port destination on your own. You just need to be aware of the time by which you must be back on board the ship.

What happens if I am late returning to the ship?

It’s imperative you always get back to the ship on time. The “All Aboard” time is printed in the daily ship newsletter. If you are on an excursion organised by the cruise line with other guests, the ship will be informed if there are any delays and wait.

If you have chosen to explore independently and are delayed getting back to the ship, you should call the ship immediately to inform them that you are running late. It is at their discretion if they wait for you or sail.

What do I do if the ship departs from port without me?

Should the ship depart without you, call the ship immediately to let them know you are not on board. It is incumbent on you to make your own arrangements, at your own cost, to meet the ship at the next port or to return home. If you return home, you will need to liaise with the cruise Operator to have your belongings returned, at your own cost.

Do I need to take my travel documents ashore?

You will need to carry your cruise card with you and a photocopy of the details page of your passport with the photo. Take the ship’s phone number with you, should you run into challenges returning to the ship on time. It is recommended you only carry as little money as you need and a credit card. Leave your passport in the safe in your stateroom.

Can I bring souvenirs on board from the ports I visit?

Yes, you can however you need to be mindful of items that you should not bring on board or bring home – such as plants, unpackaged foods, animal products or seeds for example. Check customs regulations for items you can’t bring home. Also be aware of your ship’s policy on bringing alcohol back onto most ships. Items that shouldn’t be carried back onto the ship will likely be confiscated.

What’s in my stateroom or suite?

Amenities will depend on the cruise line, room type and the size of the vessel you are cruising on, however most onboard accommodation has a queen sized bed that can be separated into twin beds, a fridge or minibar, flat screen TV, wardrobe, safe and en suite bathroom with bath products and hairdryer.

Will I be able to get laundry done?

Most cruise Operators offer laundry services, self-service laundry facilities and dry cleaning services. All services are provided for a fee. Some suite classes offer free or a level of complimentary laundry service.

Will I need an adapter for electrical appliances?

On many cruise lines you will find North American standard 110 volts AC two round pin electrical outlets and the standard European 220/230 volts AC, two flat pin outlets. Although sometimes they are provided, carrying a universal adapter and a converter is recommended.

Will there be Wi-Fi?

Most ships provide free Wi-Fi services in public areas and in your stateroom or suite. There is likely to be limitations to the bandwidth and the number of devices that can use the free service per stateroom. Some cruise Operators offer options to upgrade at an extra cost. On all ships there can be interruptions to service due to location and conditions.

Can I use my mobile phone on the ship?

You can use your mobile phone on your cruise ship, but you will need to contact your own provider to check on International Roaming Services. Your mobile phone provider will need to have a roaming agreement with Maritime Communications Partner (MCP)or Wireless Maritime Services (WMS). Contact your provider for more details on rates and availability. Be aware, once you leave your home port International Roaming Rates will activate.

Can I contact my family from the cruise ship?

Some cruise ships offer direct dial satellite phone services at cost from your stateroom or suite and all offer telephone services from the ship. These calls are charged at a per minute rate and usually in US Dollars or Euro. Rates can start at approximately USD7.50 or EU €6 per minute. If you are not carrying your own device, you will find computers and internet services are available for email contact. Alternatively, your family can contact the ship should they need to contact you in an emergency.

Will I need to have cash for payments on board?

A cashless system operates on cruise ships. For convenience, all purchases and paid services on board (after your authorisation) are billed to your personal shipboard account. At the end of your cruise, you will receive a total which can be paid with cash, charged to a major credit card or paid in traveller's cheques (there is a processing fee). Personal cheques are not accepted.

What happens if I have not spent all the funds in my onboard account?

This will depend on the cruise line. As a general rule, credit you have purchased for your account is refunded. Onboard credit you may have gained from sales promotions may not be refunded if not used. Most accounts will itemise the source of the credit. Check the Terms and Conditions of your cruise Operator to confirm their policy.

Are there ATMs on the ship?

Most large cruise ships have ATMS but be aware there may be large surcharges for using them.

What activities are there on the ship?

All cruise Operators offer amenities and activities on board the ship. Amenities, depending on the size of the ship, may include but are not limited to, swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness centre and spa, library, shopping, casino, theatre, lounges and bars, sports courts and running tracks, and children’s centres.

Activities will depend on the type of cruise you have booked but may include cooking demonstrations, games of skill and chance, destination focussed talks and lectures, language and art classes, sports competitions, nightly entertainment, shows and performances, themed nights and art auctions.

Are there activities for children?

Some cruise lines, such as Viking, do not accept children. Others accept children but don’t offer specific facilities or programs for children. There may be limitations for young children participating in the zodiac excursions on expedition cruises based on age, weight and height. Other cruise Operators are family focussed with award winning programs for children from babies to teens.

Are there babysitting services?

Baby sitting services and evening programs for children are offered (at cost) by some cruise Operators. These are often booked when you board.

Can I smoke on board a cruise ship?

All cruise ships offer designated areas for smoking. Please note, you cannot smoke in your stateroom or on your balcony and smoking is strictly prohibited outside the ships’ designated areas.

What happens if I get sick on my cruise?

Every ship, regardless of the cruise line and ship size, has some level of medical services or a medical centre onboard. If you become sick during the cruise you should report to the medical services for guidance on managing your illness amongst other guests.

You may be quarantined in your stateroom to stop the spread of illness. If you are seriously ill, you may be disembarked at the next port for more comprehensive care and if your illness (or injury) is very serious you may be helicoptered off the ship by a medi-vac service.

It is essetial to have travel medical insurance to cover all these instances, even when cruising in Australian waters. As Medicare is only available to registered providers you will want to avoid large medical bills.

Can I buy medications onboard?

While there will be a range of over the counter drugs available in the medical centre on most ships, it is recommended by all that you carry enough supply of your prescription and non-prescription medicines to cover you for the period of your cruise.

Can I drink the water on the ship?

Yes, you can. The water in restaurants and in your stateroom has been tested and filtered under rigorous conditions set down by health agencies overseeing health and safety on cruise ships. Some luxury cruise Operators have filtered water taps in their suites, but this is not an indicator that the water is not safe otherwise or on other cruise lines that do not offer this amenity.

Do I need to tip onboard the ship?

Gratuity policies vary by cruise line. Most include gratuities in the cruise fare we advertise, while others will add a per person per day amount to your onboard account (which can be amended at your discretion when you settle your bill). Ask your Global Journeys Cruise Advisor if you are unsure what your cruise line includes.

Please note that even if gratuities are included in your cruise fare this does not cover purchases onboard (expect an additional gratuity added to things like spa services and drinks not included in complimentary drinks packages).

Do I need to tip for services on shore in ports?

Shore excursions are generally run by tour operators who run their businesses independently of the cruise Operator. Tipping is always at your discretion, however as general rule, guests may tip up to US $5 for tour guides and give a few dollars to the driver also.

The Small Print
We've tried to make this FAQ guide as accurate as possible, but it is general advice and each tour and cruise Operator has their own rules and regulations. We've outlined those in the FAQ section on each Operator page. Please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel. Global Journeys takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of the information provided above.

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